Paul Ricard Track Guide | Sector 1

The Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, France has hosted Formula 1 since the early 70s and is known as one of the first modern autodromes. Its wide mix of high, medium and low-speed turns, as well as the wide, high grip asphalt runoff zones, has made the circuit a popular testing circuit. Whilst the extended run-offs mean the track can be very forgiving, it does not mean that it is easy to master.

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Sector 1 begins with the fast Verrierie Chicane and ends with the slower speed Virage du Camp corner at the West end of the circuit. The key part of the sector is getting a good run out of T5 onto the Mistral Straight.

Turn 1 (S de la Verrierie)

Starting the lap bring the car over to the right-hand side and straddle the outside kerbs.

Brake for the Verrierie Esses firmly for a short time just after the second striped kerb begins and then turn in.

Downshift to 4th gear for the apex and aim to clip the edge of the sausage kerbs as these don't unsettle the car much.

Stay towards the middle of the track on exit compromising T1 exit speed a little so you don't harm your run through T2 and the next section.

Turn 2 (S de la Verrierie)

For the second part of the Verrierie Esses shift back up to 5th gear and take a late apex, using the full kerb for the shortest route as it is very flat.

Always be aware that the kerbs can still reduce traction so try to take a smooth line over them and don't stab at the throttle.

Turn 3 (Virage de l'Hôtel)

Turn 3, known as Virage de l'Hôtel, is the first in a complex of multiple interconnected corners.

Hit the brakes around the 75m board from high speed and flick the car into the corner, shifting down to 5th gear for the apex.

Take all of the flat inside kerb, keeping within track limits and hug the right side a bit to open up the entry of T4. Since T5 comes immediately after, this is also important for the line into T5 too.

Turn 4

On the transition between T3 and T4 downshift to 4th gear to aid rotation and use the apex kerb to the same effect.

Try to use all of the inside kerb and keep to the left side of the track on exit for a wider entry into T5.

Turn 5 (Virage du Camp)

Virage du Camp is Turn 5 on the circuit and is one of the slowest, taken in 2nd gear. The exit of this corner is key for a good run down the famous Mistral Straight.

Try to use a wide line into the corner, taking a late apex for a better exit. It is best to avoid taking loads of kerb here as this can unsettle the car.

Similarly, avoid the sausage kerbs on the exit and short shift to get the power down smoothly for the best exit.

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